Chris Knox

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Chris Knox
Born (1952-09-02) 2 September 1952 (age 70)
Invercargill, New Zealand
GenresIndie rock, punk rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, writer, reviewer, filmmaker, cartoonist, artist
Years active1977–present
LabelsFlying Nun

Chris Knox (born 2 September 1952) is a New Zealand rock and roll musician, cartoonist and movie reviewer who emerged during the punk rock era with his bands The Enemy and Toy Love. After Toy Love disbanded in the early 1980s, he formed the group Tall Dwarfs with guitarist Alec Bathgate. The Tall Dwarfs were noted for their unpolished sound and intense live shows. His 4-track machine was used to record most of the early Flying Nun singles.

He has also released a number of solo, self-produced albums which feature his Casiotone. Knox has also released an album under the pseudonym 'Friend'.


At the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards Knox's ballad "Not Given Lightly" (1990) was announced as New Zealand's thirteenth best song of all time, as voted by APRA members.[1] A love song written for "John and Liesha's mother"—his then-partner Barbara—this track never scaled commercial heights though it has belatedly generated some income for the songwriter through its use in TV advertising (notably for Vogel's bread).

Knox has played live in front of audiences all around New Zealand, winning a reputation for his sometimes confrontational style, and performed annually at Wellington's Bar Bodega. He has also extensively toured internationally. His swing through the US in 1995 included, among others, stops in Seattle to play the Crocodile Cafe. His minimalist, DIY sound played well to ears then-focused on grunge, with its retro-punk stylings.

A long-time resident of Auckland, Knox spent time as a newspaper columnist and film reviewer for Real Groove. In 1986-1987, he edited and published three issues of a New Zealand comics anthology Jesus on a Stick.[2] Starting in 1987, his satirical comic strip Max Media appeared in The New Zealand Herald every week until 2009. He has also been an occasional television film reviewer, hosted a Television New Zealand season of classic movies 'The Vault', and presented two seasons of arts series New Artland.

Knox launched his own label 'A Major Records' in 2006 to release the album Chris Knox and the Nothing. This was the first album Knox recorded in a professional studio, rather than in his trademark DIY style, since his time with Toy Love.

Knox's "It's Love", from the 2000 album Beat, has been used in "Share the Good", a Heineken Premium Light commercial directed by Todd Haynes and cinematographed by Edward Lachman.

In 2009 Knox was awarded a New Zealand Arts Foundation Arts Laureate Award.[3]

On 11 June 2009 Knox was admitted to Auckland Hospital suffering from a stroke.[4] The album Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox was released in New Zealand on 16 November 2009. It features 33 artists performing Knox's songs. The album is a way for Knox's fans to contribute to the costs of his rehabilitation. All artists contributed their time and talent without charge. Artists include Jay Reatard, David Kilgour, The Mint Chicks, Shayne Carter, Yo La Tengo, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Bill Callahan, The Mountain Goats, The Bats, The Chills, The Verlaines, Jeff Mangum, The Nothing (including Chris), Tall Dwarfs and Lou Barlow.

The Greenwich Village arts venue Le Poisson Rouge hosted a benefit concert for Knox on 6 May 2010.[5] Artists included Jeff Mangum and Yo La Tengo, who both participated in the 2009 benefit album for Knox.

Since his stroke, Knox has done a very small number of live appearances, for instance at the presentation of Stroke – Songs For Chris Knox in November 2009,[6] on 22 April 2012,[7] on 29 September 2012 in Auckland, with Rackets, as Knoxious[8] and in support of Neutral Milk Hotel on 23 and 24 of November, 2013.[9]



Year Title Details Peak chart
1981 Songs for Cleaning Guppies
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: ME 1
1988 Seizure
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN125
1991 Croaker
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN165
1993 Polyfoto, Duck-Shaped Pain and Gum
  • "Polyfoto" (introduction), Duck-Shaped Pain (LP), "Gum" (bonus EP)
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN249
1995 Songs of You And Me
  • Double album – Hanging Out for Time to Cure Birth and A Stranger's Iron Shore
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN313
1997 Yes!!
  • Released: 23 September 1997
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN400
2000 Beat
  • Released: 22 August 2000
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN444
2002 Inaccuracies & Omissions
  • Released as Friend
  • Released: 31 March 2003
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN471
2005 Chris Knox & The Nothing
  • Released as Chris Knox & The Nothing
  • Label: A Major Label
  • sometimes called Play Loud for Best Results
2008 A Warm Gun
  • Released as The Nothing
  • Label: A Major Label
  • Catalogue: AMAJ001
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Title Details Peak chart
1993 Meat
  • Compilation of tracks from Seizure and Croaker
  • Label: Communion
  • Catalogue: COMM 28-2
1999 Almost
  • Bonus CD with Yes!!
  • Label: Dark Beloved Cloud
  • Catalogue: DBC 220
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Tribute albums[edit]

Year Title Details Peak chart
2009 Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox
  • Various artists
  • Released: 15 November 2009
  • Label: Merge Records
  • Catalogue: AMAJ002
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Singles and EPs[edit]

Year Title Details Peak chart
1989 "Not Given Lightly" / Guppiplus
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN127
1990 "Not Given Lightly"
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN152
1990 Song For 1990
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN155
1993 "Under The Influence"
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN266
1993 Chris Knox/Tall Dwarfs split
  • Label: Forced Exposure
  • Catalogue: FE-031
1993 "Not Given Lightly"
  • Label: Communion
  • Catalogue: COMM 26-1
1995 One Fell Swoop
  • Label: FN316
  • Catalogue: Flying Nun
1996 Songs From 1990
  • Label: Caroline
  • Catalogue: CAR 7528
1996 15th Anniversary Etching
  • Label: Flying Nun
  • Catalogue: FN372
1998 "Not Given Lightly"
  • Label: Curveball
  • Catalogue: Curve 3CD
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

See also[edit]


Aotearoa Music Awards[edit]

The Aotearoa Music Awards (previously known as New Zealand Music Awards (NZMA)) are an annual awards night celebrating excellence in New Zealand music and have been presented annually since 1965.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
1993 Chris Knox for Duck Shaped Pain and Gum Album Cover of the Year Nominated [10]
1994 Chris Knox for 3 EPs by Tall Dwarfs Album Cover of the Year Nominated
1995 Chris Knox for Songs of You and Me Album Cover of the Year Nominated
2006 Chris Knox for As Sweet As Sin (Bleeders) Album Cover of the Year Won
2012 Chris Knox (as part of Toy Love) New Zealand Music Hall of Fame inductee [11]


  1. ^ Chris Knox, "Not Given Lightly", The Listener 194(3352), 7–13 August 2004.
  2. ^ Kinnaird, Adrian (2013). From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics. Auckland, New Zealand: Random House New Zealand. p. 55. ISBN 9781869799953.
  3. ^ Herrick, Linda (17 November 2009). "Arts award brightens trying time". New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Radio New Zealand : News : Story Not Found". Archived from the original on 22 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Jeff Mangum Announces Rare Performance at Chris Knox Benefit". Pitchfork. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  6. ^ Gilchrist, Shane (28 November 2009). "Local legends rally for Knox (page 1) | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  7. ^ Marika Hill (21 April 2012). "Rock Legend Chris Knox Returns to the Stage". Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Rackets Announce Auckland Show With Chris Knox – Music News at Undertheradar". 18 September 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Two Little Birds: Jeff Mangum, Chris Knox and how broken nerves get better". The Lumière Reader. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Aotearoa Music Awards". Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  11. ^ "HOME INDUCTEES". Retrieved 16 August 2021.

External links[edit]